Saturday, 25 July 2015

There And Back Again

One Ring To Rule Them All

It would be hard to resist visiting some of the film locations of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit if a dream visit to New Zealand ever happened…. My understanding is that New Zealanders have embraced the tourist, creative and employment opportunities resulting from Peter Jackson’s films of Tolkien’s works. Weta workshops are now firmly established as an international leader in 3d modeling, costuming, armour, weaponry and special effects of all kinds.

From Hobbiton to the Dead Marshes….

I imagine that travelling is a key aim for most retirees. “All we have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given us.” (I imagine Ian McKellen’s voice as Gandalf intoning those words….) I have been lucky over the years to travel to some unusual places: Kenya, China, Finland, Milledgeville (in Georgia, USA.) I hope that retirement will feature some further memorable experiences, before Shakespeare’s seventh age of man kicks in.
Seventh Age: "second childishness and mere oblivion."

There and back again.

It can feel uncomfortable being adrift, as Bilbo Baggins tells his nephew: “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
I blogged earlier about my idea of home being where your loved ones are. I’ve always taken the subtitle of The Hobbit to heart - There And Back Again; after a journey, it’s always satisfying to return to hearth and home. Going out, coming back. Ebbing and flowing. In the middle of a holiday, it’s good to know that your slippers are waiting at home (unless you took them with you, of course.) Would New Zealand feel just too far away? Perhaps I should stick to walking along the local canal?

Into the Wild

Journeys into the wild are good for putting personal concerns into perspective. When I lived in Helsinki for a year, I undertook a road trip with two Japanese men and a son of one of them; and en route to Nordkapp we called at Hammerfest, the most northern civilian settlement with over 5,000 inhabitants.
Hammerfest in northern Norway
I’ll blog about my year in Scandanavia in the future, but what I’m remembering now is the sense of being on the edge of the world at the mercy of nature. When faced with the spread of cosmic existence, evident in the sight of the galaxy of stars in remote places like Hammerfest (or, I expect, New Zealand), human anxieties can seem insignificant. Worries can gain perspective. “All we have to do is to decide what to do with the time that is given us.”
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel and Elijah Wood as Frodo, image created by vanderstelt-studio

The Smallest Person

Galadriel tells Frodo “Even the smallest person can change the course of history” to reassure him that he has the strength to endure on his quest. The quest goes on. Excelsior!